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Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Profound Implications of Choice

Who are your spiritual authorities? Is the church a democracy? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 502).

I grew up in the Methodist Church situated within a democracy. Since it was situated (in my case) within the American democracy, the congregations were largely self-selecting. For example, if you were an atheist you were free not to come to church, and few if any ever did.  The rule of self-selection largely obtains to all organizations within a democracy-- whether a service club, an upper level educational institution, or even workplace.  To a greater or lesser extent, one is always free to participate or not to participate in any specific organization.  Additionally,  the values of democracy are largely incorporated within its encompassed organizations; thus we find micromanagement operating at a minimum. That is, purpose and accountability predominate over legalistic specificity and goose-step rigidity.

The Methodist Church has The Book of Discipline, but its primary utility in predominant practice is to adorn bookshelves and to give a sense of rectitude.  In my experience the principle business of the Methodist Church is to share in the love of Christ– all else is merely a tool used to implement this overarching purpose.  So I perforce conclude that the church, like other organizations situated within a democracy, experientially find the values of democracy profoundly subversive to occasional flights of autocratic fancy no matter how staidly defended as righteous.

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